Chasing the Ripper at Christmas – a Victorian Tale

DATED: 16.12.20

By the time Christmas 1888 came around, the last of the Whitechapel murders had already taken place with the mutilated body of Mary Jane Kelly discovered by her landlord, John McCarthy, on 9 November. Finding the killer was still very much at the top of the list for Santa, with the Metropolitan Police uncertain as to whether Jack the Ripper would strike again.

It is widely believed the Ripper struck for the final time that fateful night, with many theories suggesting the killer vanished. As the police department worked overtime during the festive period looking to bring the perpetrator to justice instead of spending the day with their loved ones, it is likely that Jack was long gone.

The Ripper case files remained open until 1892, at which point the police effectively admitted defeat in the search for history’s most notorious serial killer, who will forever be the subject of the most storied ‘who done it?’ mystery. Despite this, that has not dampened the spirit of many an amateur sleuth, who continue to try to piece together what happened on the streets of Whitechapel more than a century ago.

Did the Ripper Strike at Christmas?

There were alarms raised in the days leading up to Christmas in 1888 following the discovery of Rose Mylett’s body in Poplar, East London on 20th December. The wide consensus was that this was not the work of Jack the Ripper, who was active between August and November of that year. Although, with the final brutal murder having been little more than a month before Mylett’s body was found, the initial link was inevitable.

Local and national press were quick to dismiss the possibility that the Ripper had re-emerged from, at least at the time, what was a brief hiatus, but the whispers continued. Christmas Day was greeted with an eerie atmosphere in Whitechapel, with locals apprehensive of a night of terror just as the Canonical Five were slowly fading to memory.

In its 27th December 1888 edition, The Western Morning News ran a story in which it mused at how Jack the Ripper might have spent his Christmas. The newspaper declared that “he had spent his Christmas in a civilised manner”.

What Happened to the Ripper?

The truth is that no one knows what happened to man simply known as Jack the Ripper following the massacre of Mary Jane Kelly on 9 November 1888. His trace, of which there was not much to begin with, fades into darkness and there are no definitive signs of the killer.

Of course, some theories suggest who the killer may have been which may answer what happened to him. Some claim that the Ripper was institutionalised, while others believe he was H.H. Holmes and returned to the United States where he resumed his gruesome hobby, as well as those who claim he took his own life to avoid prosecution.

New theories continue to be presented along with the emergence of new supposed evidence relating to the murders. While many of these have holes and inconsistencies, some do present a convincing case – and it is these theories that keep interest in the cold case so strong all these years later.

Take a Festive Tour

While the Metropolitan Police were unsuccessful in reprimanding the murderer, modern-day fans of true crime can follow the footsteps of Jack the Ripper by booking a spot on one of our walking tours around the East End of London. From crime scenes, points of interest and other places related to the killer and his victims, one of our Ripperologist tour guides will go into detail about everything we know about the killer and our favourite theories.

Our tours run throughout the day which means you can book a ticket for a tour at a time that most suits you. So, when you have a spare moment exploring the capital’s high street getting your Christmas shopping done, why not take a break and satisfy your thirst for true crime? You will not regret it and, after experiencing Ripper-Vision, you may know someone who will also enjoy taking one of our world-famous walking tours.

Gift a Jack the Ripper Walking Tour

If you feel like giving a ticket as a gift, you can do so by heading to our booking page here. If the person you are gifting for is unable to make the date you book for, the tour can be rearranged simply by getting in touch with a member of our team.

Alternatively, if the person you are buying for would prefer to experience the tour from the comfort of their home without venturing out, we have recently launched a new virtual Jack the Ripper tour priced at just £5. When you book a virtual ticket, a passcode will be shared with you that grants you access to the tour for 24 hours and can be streamed on your smartphone, computer and television via Chromecast.

For more information on our tour, please do not hesitate to get in contact with a member of the Jack the Ripper Tour team today by sending an email to We look forward to welcoming you to either our walking or virtual tour this Christmas, as well as wishing you a happy new year from everyone on the team!


 7 Days a Week

AT 5:00PM & 7:30PM

Tour Duration

1 hr 45 mins


The Jack the Ripper Casebook